Monday, August 19, 2013

Video gives a vindictive, unfair portrait of the transgender community

This has to be the single most vindictive display of transgender bashing I have ever seen on video not involving violence.

From Media Matters:

For the past several weeks, conservative media outlets have been stoking fears about a new California law that will allow transgender students to have access to school facilities and sports teams that match their gender identity. The law has drawn criticism from outlets like Fox News, which warns that the law will allow boys to sneak into girls' bathrooms and engage in inappropriate behavior.

Case in point: Media Research Center Content Specialist Dan Joseph, who on August 15 released a video in which he poses as a transgender female and asks a woman if she would be comfortable with him using the same restroom as her.

That point of the video happens at 5:31. Media Matters also says:

Other than attempting to feminize his voice, Joseph doesn't present himself in any way as a female in the clip. He is wearing men's clothing, has a full goatee, and goes by his male name, "Dan." His impersonation is a perfect example of everything that's wrong with how conservative media imagine transgender people.

Unlike Joseph's character, most people who are actually transgender make efforts to present and appear in a way that matches their gender identity. Transgender women don't typically walk around in men's clothing will full faces of facial hair. They don't typically refer to themselves as "a transgender." And they certainly don't stand outside of women's restrooms announcing themselves and asking passerbys for permission to "go in there... and change and shower and stuff."

Media Matters points out that the purpose of this video is not to give accurate information about the transgender community, but to gin up fear and anger by amplifying the homophobic stereotypes created about transgenders.

I couldn't agree with this more.

'NJ Gov Christie signs bill outlawing 'ex-gay' therapy for minors' and other Monday midday news briefs

Chris Christie Signs New Jersey Bill Banning Ex-Gay Therapy For Minors - I think its safe to assume that Chris Christie won't be getting the Republican nomination for President any time soon, not if the religious right has anything to say about it. 

Matt Barber says he will never accept my marriage (*even though he absolutely will, at least in law) - For the second time, Matt Barber, we don't care whether or not you accept our marriages. I mean who the hell are you that we should care? 

Parker: Gay Rights Advocates 'Hijacked the Civil Rights Movement' And Are 'Destroying Black Communities' - Says the woman receiving wingnut welfare for being the head of a - as I see it as now - nonexistent organization which does nothing but lend its name to whenever conservatives or the religious right wants a black face. 

 Judge orders Colorado State Patrol to pay $768,268 to gay ex-trooper - Fairness wins. 

 San Antonio Nondiscrimination Bill Triggers Community’s Homophobia - It's sad how the wolves came out of the woodwork.

Drag queen show on Air Force base = anti-Christian persecution?

And the newest anti-gay lie which will hit the streets will involve the Air Force. According to Todd Starnes of Fox News:

The U.S. Air Force said that a well-known drag queen group was invited to perform on base during a “Diversity Day” celebration because drag is a “symbol of gay pride and unity. But the performance sparked outrage among some airmen who called the drag show “totally offensive and inappropriate.”

Jewels and the Brunchettes performed to a small crowd at the Los Angeles Air Force Base on Aug. 8, the military confirmed.

The Air Force said in a statement to Fox News that “Diversity Day” featured eight cultural groups and was meant to “foster equality and diversity in the workplace.”

Photographs provided to Fox News show an individual wearing a giant wig and sporting form-fitting dresses performing to a sparse crowd underneath the American flag.

“Drag acts to this day represent the struggle for freedom and equality of the LGBT community, while at the same time providing a deep-rooted historical form of entertainment for the LGBT culture,” said Peggy Hodge, a spokesperson for the Office of Public Affairs.

And the offended airmen? Well we don't know who they are. Starnes allegedly only quoted one:

One airman, who asked not to be identified, told Fox News he was offended by the performance and said it had no place on a military base.

“I am really surprised that this happened on a military installation,” the airman told Fox News. “I get that people want to be able to have committed relationships with members of the same sex, but this crossed the line.”

The airman said it was ironic that the Air Force is cracking down on Christians being able to openly share their faith but they would allow individuals to dress in drag.

How do I put this nicely? I smell bullshit. As luck would have it, the American Family Association's One News Now also ran a story on this same issue using the same talking point as Starnes but from the mouth of Bryan Fischer:

Fischer points out that while the Air Force is apparently okay with drag queens, it continues to be hostile to Christian chaplains, officers, and enlisted personnel who publicly share their faith.

 "Right now the American military, particularly the Air Force, is extremely hostile to any kind of expression of Christian faith,” he laments, “and they have clearly come down on the side of sexual perversity over biblical values in this case – and that ought to be a concern to every American citizen." The AFA spokesman says the Air Force has not yet responded to his group’s request to meet with military leaders to discuss what AFA considers blatant acts of “anti-Christian hostilities” aimed at those in the Air Force – including chaplains – who publicly share their faith.

So that's going to be the new talking point - " Christians are being persecuted in the Armed Forces while gays get special treatment."  Diversity Day has nothing to do with this complaint by Starnes and Fischer that Christians are being treated unfairly on military bases. They have been complaining about this for a while now, regardless of the fact that the Pentagon has said this is not going on. From a May 2, 2013 article in the USA Today:

"The U.S. Department of Defense has never and will never single out a particular religious group for persecution or prosecution," Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen said in a statement. "The Department makes reasonable accommodations for all religions and celebrates the religious diversity of our service members."

"Service members can share their faith (evangelize), but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith or no faith to one's beliefs (proselytization)," Christensen added.

Neither Starnes nor Fischer will tell you that there have been several complaints and incidents of Christian members of the military either aggressively attempting to convert non-Christian soldiers or violating the military's position of religious neutrality. One case led to a lawsuit in 2008 involving Army Spc. Jeremy Hall, an atheist who claimed he was discriminated against.

And none of those incidents have anything to do with the policy of allowing gays to serve openly in the military. The attempt to combine the two is a sad effort to attack the idea of gays in the military while playing the "anti-Christian persecution" card.

No doubt we will be hearing more about this incident. Now that Starnes has put the incident out there - as he has done many a times with several fake moral panics - we should expect other religious right and conservative groups to amplify the talking point to the level that it will be pushed by the mainstream media.

Meanwhile, those on our side of the spectrum will be caught twiddling our thumbs . . . again.